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  • Jonathan Widran

ROBERT MINOTT, "Can't Hold Back"

Marking an extraordinary 30 years since the release of his debut album Love Struck, veteran Jamaican born, Atlanta based singer and performer Robert Minott drops an infectious swirl of uplifting funk and chill vibes on his latest single “Can’t Hold Back” – a hybrid track fusing his deep seated reggae roots with tastes of Afro Beat and R&B and featuring the spirited rap of Jamaican rapper/DJ Mr. Lexx.

Produced by renowned fellow Jamaican artist Kirk “Kirkeldove/Drummy” Bennett, the song was inspired by a young lady that struck Minott’s fancy but who put up resistance every time it seemed he was making inroads to winning her affection. While at heart it’s a classic song of longing for an elusive lover, “Can’t Hold Back” doubles as the perfect expression for these challenging times we’re living in.

As we begin to feel a few rays of optimism after a dark, anxiety filled pandemic year, the singer invites us to escape our troubles with the tune’s hypnotic percussive vibe and feel the energy as we sing along optimistically, connecting with his purposeful determination (“You and I will be together as one. . .I will be your man/You’ll be my woman/Whatever it takes”) and confidently declaring along with him “I can’t hold back.”

“I think it can help people reflect on how we relate to each other. Upon first listen, my lyrics may come across as a bit doubtful or negative, because she’s not aligned with my desires, but the cool part of music is that we can interpret songs however we choose. We can interchange what we hear into something more positive that can change our mood and help us see things in a different light. However one comes to understand the story, ‘Can’t Hold Back’ is one of those tracks that can help brighten the spirit and make people happy as they think of their goals or someone special that sparks their heart’s desire. It can provide motivation to take things to the next level, where you can finally make that move.”

“Can’t Hold Back” follows the successful release of Minott’s 2020 single “Let’s Chill,” a reggae version of the Teddy Riley penned track that was a Billboard Top 5 R&B/Hip-Hop track in the early 90s. Produced by Norman Owen – an influential New York based Jamaican artist in his own right – the track hit #1 on Reggae Global Radio. Both singles will be included on Minott’s upcoming album Rasta Funk, to be released by Wolf Entertainment. To the singer, the concept of “Rasta Funk” means being able to bring the best of his homeland of Jamaica and his adopted home of America, blending reggae with R&B, funk, rock and country simply because he loves all those styles and all have been influences on his developing artistry.

Minott considers Rasta Funk “the best album I have ever produced,” which is saying something considering the level of international success he has achieved with various singles and albums over the years – starting with his starting with his debut single “Irie” featuring legendary artist Bunny Ruggs from Third World. His popular releases have included his 2011 hit “Right Man Fi Yuh,” which topped the Jamaican charts and made strides on the South Florida and New York Reggae charts; the globally popular 2014 album Splendid Woman; and “Playa Playa,” a 2009 Top 10 Billboard R&B/Reggae/Dancehall track (from his self-titled Minott collection) that stayed on the chart for over eight weeks. In 2007, he collaborated with dancehall artist Elephant Man on the track “Roll It,” and a later cover of “Silver Words” featuring rapper Kirkie KBZ also hit the Jamaican charts.

With a soulful voice that has earned favorable comparisons to the late legendary “Clown Prince of Reggae” Dennis Brown and British born Jamaican superstar Maxi Priest, Minott has been a popular global performer for many years, headlining shows everywhere from London, Johannesburg and the Cayman Islands to Houston, San Antonio, Austin, South Carolina, Miami and of course Jamaica. Over the years, he has performed alongside the likes of some of reggae’s biggest names, including Priest, Burning Spear, Shaggy and Bob Marley’s sons Ziggy Marley, Ky-Mani Marley and Damian aka “Jr. Gong” Marley. He also has the unique distinction of performing with another Jamaican musical great, singer-songwriter Gregory Isaacs, and later playing for several years at an all-star tribute concert, held every Valentine’s Day to celebrate Isaac’s legacy after his passing in 2010.

Like many Jamaican born children, Minott grew up (in St, Andrew) with his grandmother after his mother migrated to the U.S. to build a life and send money back to their homeland. Two special childhood moments stand out for him – listening to Teddy Pendergrass in his home and having his grandma tell him she thought it was him, and telling his mom when he was 10 or 11 that his goal in life was to own a classic Corvette. At 12, he had a “crazy vision” that he was performing under bright lights, rocking a crowd – and that inspired him to write his first song. He was soon singing in small groups and performing free school concerts. His first club gig was at a club called Bohemia in the Half Way Tree part of Kingston. Besides all the reggae artists whose energy he vibed with, his early inspirations included Motown legends The Temptation and Marvin Gaye, whom Minott calls the “Gangsta Roots R&B Singer.”

Moving to Pomona NY (outside of Albany) in his mid-teens was a culture shock at first but living in the States gave birth to new dreams, including Minott’s early desire to work on cars and become a top level mechanic, or mechanical engineer. Later, while living in the Bronx and attending the Manhattan School of Business, he performed at house parties. Over the years, while working various day jobs and building his music career, he also lived briefly in South Carolina and later lived in Houston before settling in Atlanta, where he has lived now for 13 years.

“Everything I do as an artist and performer is driven first by my lifelong love and passion for music and making people happy,” Minott says. “I love feeding off the energy of the live audience and watching people smiling and screaming their approval when I give a good performance.”


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